Workplace Auditing

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Work health and safety auditing is a systematic, ongoing and periodic review of the entire workplace health and safety system, including the policy and programs used to promote WH&S and prevent workplace accidents/incidents and work related illnesses.

Audits are conducted to determine the effectiveness of management systems and to identify the strengths and opportunities for improvements, with the initial health and safety audit can be used to establish standards against which future audits can be measured. A WH&S audit will also provide an objective outlook of the status of the workplace health and safety management within the workplace.

Legislative Compliance Audits

These types of audits can be specific and undertaken to determine if workplace practices are meeting legislative requirements. Compliance audits are conducted to ensure the workplace meets the requirements of the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Codes of Practice and Australian Standards. A compliance audit will identify hazards, unsafe work practices and procedures, and systems of work do not meet legislated standards.

 The hazards addressed during a legislative compliance audit are determined by the workplace environment along with information obtained from specific training, relevant injury data and industry input. The outcomes of legislative compliance audits conducted give results that indicate if compliance is being achieved or if further actions are required to meet legislative standards.

Hazard Specific Audits

Hazard specific audits address particular issues such as power cords being run across the floor, or plant machinery being in hazardous places, or using hazardous substances, and involve the inspection and testing of current workplace control methods. This type of audit has a narrow focus and looks at the effectiveness of policies and procedures in dealing with specific hazards. These audits differ from compliance audits in that the standards set by the workplace to address a risk of injury may exceed legislative requirements.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 doesn’t mandate a formal hazard based assessment of the workplace, but expects inspections to be done. There are 8 general workplace hazard categories to be audited.

  1. Hazard identification, risk assessment and control
  2. Work environment
  3. Noise
  4. Plant
  5. Electrical
  6. Hazardous Substances
  7. Manual Tasks
  8. Information, Instruction, Training and Supervision

Safety Management System Audit

Management system audits have a wider scope, and although addressing hazards and risk controls, it also looks at workplace structures, planning activities, responsibilities, implemented procedures, review cycles and measurement and evaluation issues. The management system as such, is as planned, documented and verifiable method of managing WH&S hazards. What makes it a system is the deliberate linking and flow of processes that creates an intentional way of managing WH&S matters.

A basic workplace health and safety management system is audited annually to ensure

  • existence of a health and safety policy that is communicated to staff
  • management commitment
  • allocation of responsibilities and accountability for health and safety matters
  • controls for suppliers, sub-contractors and purchasing
  • health and safety consultation
  • hazard identification, evaluation and control
  • provision of information and training of staff
  • incident reporting, investigation, analysis and review; and
  • measuring and evaluating work health and safety performance